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The detonation of a single nuclear bomb or warhead would cause a local disaster on a scale that few people in the world have seen and survived However it should not be confused with the effects of a nuclear war in which many nuclear bombs would be exploded That would cause the end of civilization in the countries concerned and perhaps over the whole world as well as radioactive contamination of whole continents and terrible damage to the environment and ecology The effect of a single bomb would depend on its power and where it exploded -- high in the air or at ground level -- and whether in a densely populated and built-up area like a city or in open country like an attack on a missile silo The nuclear bombs available to the great military powers of the world China France Israel Russia United Kingdom United States range in power from several megatons down to a few kilotons and some even smaller A megaton is the explosive power of one million tons of TNT A kiloton is the power of one thousand tons of TNT Bombs likely to be available to terrorist organizations or governments other than the great military powers would be in the 10- to 100-kiloton range Bombs made by amateurs might not explode with the full power they were designed for The two bombs that have been exploded over cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945 were in the ten- to twenty-kiloton range A ONE-MEGATON BOMB DETONATED IN THE AIR First we will look at the result of a single bomb of one megaton detonated at an altitude of 2500 metres above a city to cause maximum blast effects This is believed to have been a main part of the targeting strategy of the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War The Russian and US governments have stated that missiles would not remain targetted on
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